On August 11 Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday, brought their co-headlining tour to the Hard Rock Hotel Las Vegas, filling up The Joint with avid fans from both bands. Coheed is touring in support of their upcoming ninth studio album, The Unheavenly Creatures (due out October 5th), and Taking Back Sunday is reviving their 2016 release Tidal Wave, as well as their 2006 album Louder Now. A strong showing of both old and new. Both bands have been around since 1999 (although Coheed was known as Shabutie in those days) and they both have an extensive discography.
I have only had the opportunity to see Coheed and Cambria perform live once, at the Las Rageous festival in 2017, and this was my first chance to see Taking Back Sunday, so when I was asked if I would like to photograph and review the show I jumped at the opportunity. Up to this point I was only casually familiar with the music from each of these bands, but I have always enjoyed what I have heard from them. One thing I do know about Coheed is that they have some very passionate fans! I was looking forward to finding out why.
TAKING BACK SUNDAY was first for this date, and from the very start of their set it was apparent that the crowd was quite familiar with the music they were hearing. I can honestly say that I have never heard a crowd at The Joint sing along so loudly and unabashedly as they did for Taking Back Sunday! I was genuinely impressed. Taking Back Sunday is John Nolan on lead guitar, keyboard, vocals; Adam Lazzara is their front man handling the lead vocals; Mark O'Connell plays the drums; and Shaun Cooper handles the bass guitar. Lazzara is very energetic, often swinging his mic as if he was in a roping competition. I noticed the cable had been folded over and taped down to the mic to keep from creating any stress on the plug and breaking. This is obviously something he does with regularity. He definitely knows how to get the crowd involved, and how to keep them that way. They played a solid set, more than half of which came from the aforementioned albums, Tidal Wave and Louder Now. Their sound was excellent and Lazzara's vocals were strong and clear. Definitely a worthwhile headliner!
Taking Back Sunday Set List:
What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?
You Can't Look Back
Timberwolves at New Jersey
Liar (It Takes One to Know One)
Faith (When I Let You Down)
A Decade Under the Influence
Beat Up Car
Set Phasers to Stun
Call Come Running
My Blue Heaven
Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)
You're So Last Summer
Taking Back Sunday photos by Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos
If you are unfamiliar with COHEED AND CAMBRIA let me give you a little background on them and their style of music. They are a prog rock band out of New York, and consists of Claudio Sanchez (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards), Travis Stever (guitars, backing vocals), Josh Eppard (drums, keyboards, backing vocals), and Zach Cooper (bass, backing vocals). Much of their music is based on a sci-fi story called The Armory Wars, which was written by Claudio Sanchez. This storyline has been made into several graphic novels and one full-length novel. All but one of their albums are concept albums based off of this story. The band itself is named after two characters from the story.
As the crew got to work re-setting the stage for Coheed and Cambria I was a little surprised to see a massive flood of people heading for the doors. I am sure many of them were just heading out to smoke or use the facilities and re-entered later, but there was a noticeable thinning of the crowd toward the front of the stage. That didn't last long though, the band took to the stage in very dim purple/pink lighting while an audio track, appropriately called "Prologue", set up the storyline for the first song, "The Dark Sentencer" (a single from their upcoming album, Unheavenly Creatures). By now the crowd had filled back in the empty spaces toward the stagefront and the anticipation was apparent on all of their faces. Mid-way through "Prologue", Claudio joins his bandmates on stage to a chorus of cheers. Unmistakable, even in the dim light because of his wildly long, curly locks. Claudio is sporting a Gibson Flying V guitar which he begins to play just before the audio track finishes the last lines of "Prologue". Thus "The Dark Sentencer" began! Finishing their first song, and with hardly a pause, they break into "Here We Are Juggernaut". By this point the mosh pit is going full-tilt and the crowd surfers begin to come over the barrier into the photo pit. The crowd is fully engaged and singing along with every track. After a brief pause for water and a guitar change (Claudio switches to a Gibson Explorer) he breaks into "Devil in Jersey City".
The crowd was loud as they sang along with Taking Back Sunday, but amazingly they got even louder when Coheed and Cambria played their next two songs, "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3", and "The Crowing". Fans were shouting the chorus' at the top of their lungs, and appeared to be completely lost in the moment. It was quite a sight to behold. By this point I was sucked in and truly enjoying myself. As they hit the chorus of "Blood Red Summer" (one of the few songs I am fairly familiar with) I found myself singing along as well, something I rarely do! They conclude the set with the title track off of their forthcoming album "Unheavenly
Creatures", and the fan-favorite "Welcome Home", for which Claudio breaks out a custom double-neck Epiphone G-1275 guitar. It was a perfect finish to a superb set.
I really can't remember enjoying a concert, from start to finish, as much as I did this one. Taking Back Sunday was outstanding, but Coheed and Cambria blew me away. From their incredible lighting to their amazing sound, they were definitely one of the best live acts I have had the pleasure to photograph and review. I will be looking forward to the next opportunity to see them, and in the meantime I will make sure to add them to my playlists and begin to pick up as many of their CDs as I can (yes, I still like to buy CDs)! I think I will look into getting the comic books as well. It seems like an interesting story and will provide me a little more insight into their music and lyrics. I'm really looking forward to their October 5th release of Unheavenly Creatures!
Coheed and Cambria Set List:
The Dark Sentencer
Here We Are Juggernaut
Devil in Jersey City
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Blood Red Summer
A Favor House Atlantic
Ten Speed (Of God's Blood and Burial)
Here to Mars
Coheed and Cambria photos by Randy Udell / R U Rockin' Photos